Q+A with Paul Scialla, Wellness Pioneer and Founder of Delos
After more than a decade at Goldman Sachs, Scialla left his position as partner to focus full time on Delos. The company, founded in 2007, pioneered wellness-driven real estate, or housing that keeps health and quality of life in mind during its design and construction process. Along with a soon-to-open residential community in Greenwich Village, Delos has transformed 42 units at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas into Stay Well Rooms—design details include water and air filtration systems, natural cedar closets and minibars packed with healthy snacks—and 142 more rooms are in the works. Below, Scialla tells Travel + Leisure more about Delos, and gives us tips for staying healthy on the road.
Q: What got you interested in wellness real estate?
A: A few years ago I was renovating my loft in New York City’s Meatpacking District, and I wanted to enhance the space by adding in some spa-like wellness amenities. I began doing some research and quickly discovered that no one was offering this type of wellness solution for homes. While there was such a large focus on green building and environmental sustainability, I started wondering, “Why stop at environment sustainability? Why not focus on human sustainability, as well?”
Q: When did your interests branch out from real estate to hospitality, particularly the Stay Well rooms?
A: It was always our intention to introduce our wellness designs to a larger audience, merging real estate, which is a $150 trillion industry and the largest asset class in the world, with wellness, which is the fast growing industry in the world, and arguably the most important.
The hospitality space was a natural fit for introducing Delos’ innovative wellness designs. Delos’ first Stay Well rooms, which debuted at MGM Grand in October 2012, were one of Delos’ first pilot projects and have received an overwhelmingly positive response since opening at the hotel. We’ve found that guests of all ages and demographics prioritize their health and well being and are willing to pay a small premium for a Stay Well room in order to maintain their health and wellness while on the road for business or leisure travel.
Q: What are some of your favorite features of the Stay Well rooms at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino?
A: Some of the features I enjoy most, which have also been guest favorites, are the Vitamin C shower water and wake-up light therapy. The lighting system in the Stay Well rooms features our patented lighting technology that helps improve the body’s internal clock, assisting in the regulation of melatonin production and helping to reverse jetlag.
Through Delos’ collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, Stay Well guests also have exclusive access to their online wellness programs for sleep, nutrition, and stress management up to 60 days after their stay, so they can take these wellness services and practices back home with them.
Q: Where do you travel most often for business?
A: I’m constantly speaking and attending hospitality, health, and real estate conferences to discuss the growing demand for wellness innovations—this brings me everywhere from Florida for the Lake Nona Impact Forum to Arizona for the Annual Lodging Conference. Internationally, I travel everywhere from India to Australia to Dubai, meeting with real estate developers, green builders, hotel brands, and other potential partners to discuss opportunities to collaborate and incorporate Delos innovative wellness designs into new and existing builds.
Q: Another place where it is challenging to stay healthy is on the airplane. Do you have any health/wellness tips for frequent air travelers?
A: I always ensure I’m hydrated and have plenty of water on the flight. It’s also important to get up from your seat once an hour and walk around to maintain circulation and blood flow.
Q: Is there a particular airline that you think keeps health and wellness in mind?
A: Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Airlines have been leaders in sustainability and healthful offerings for its fliers. Richard Branson is a great innovator and thought-leader in the hospitality space and his airlines were some of the first to offer locally sourced, healthful and nutritious options.
Q: What do you always have in your carry-on?
A: My iPad and Blackberry. I always choose airlines with WiFi nowadays, so I can work on the plane.
Q: When traveling internationally for business, what is your morning routine?
A: Stretching is a must first thing in the morning. As soon as I wake up I stretch in my hotel room before I get going.
Q: Do you have any packing tips?
A: As light as possible!
Q: Do you have a favorite spa or wellness retreat (anywhere in the world)?
A: The spa at the Peninsula in New York City. They have the best massages.